Thyroid Gland - The Most Common Diseases

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Thyroid Gland - The Most Common Diseases
Thyroid Gland - The Most Common Diseases

Video: Thyroid Gland - The Most Common Diseases

Video: Thyroid Gland - The Most Common Diseases
Video: Oral Medicine | Thyroid Diseases | INBDE 2023, March

Common thyroid disorders

Thyroid diseases traditionally occur more frequently in the Alpine countries, as there are iodine deficiency areas. The most common thyroid diseases are: goiter (goiter), over- and underactive, inflammation and thyroid cancer.


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  • The goiter
  • The overactive thyroid gland
  • The underactive thyroid
  • Inflammation of the thyroid gland
  • Thyroid cancer

The goiter

Struma (colloquially goiter) is an enlargement of the thyroid gland (Struma diffusa), which is usually associated with a nodular remodeling of the tissue (Struma nodosa). The most common cause of goiter is years of diet-related iodine deficiency. Certain growth factors lead to an increase in thyroid cells and thus an increase in volume of the organ. Thyroid cysts also cause a visible enlargement of the thyroid gland less frequently.

The overactive thyroid gland

In overactive (hyperthyroidism) the thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormones. "Overstimulation" occurs in the target organs with the following possible symptoms:

  • Fast and / or irregular heartbeat
  • Weight loss
  • Nervousness, tremors, sweating
  • sleep disorders
  • Tendency to diarrhea

There are different forms of hyperfunction, the two most common forms being:

  • the autonomy and
  • immunogenic hyperthyroidism (also called Graves' disease).

Autonomy is one or more nodes or an area of the thyroid gland in which thyroid hormones are produced independently of the control of the pituitary gland and the need in the body. Graves' disease is a disorder of the immune system in which certain antibodies circulating in the blood stimulate the thyroid cells to increase the production of hormones.

In the context of inflammation of the thyroid gland, when taking certain medications (amiodarone - a drug against cardiac arrhythmias) and during pregnancy, the thyroid gland can also become overactive. For more information, see Thyroid and Pregnancy. If left untreated, a prolonged overactive thyroid can lead to heart damage.

The underactive thyroid

In the case of underactive (hypothyroidism), the thyroid gland produces too few hormones. This leads to the slowed functioning of many organs in the body with the following possible symptoms:

  • Fatigue, general weakness
  • Freezing at normal room temperature
  • Weight gain
  • Water retention
  • Tendency to constipation

The most common causes of hypofunction are chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland, surgery and radiation therapy in the neck area. A long-term underactive thyroid leads to an increase in the cholesterol level and can worsen an existing depression.

Inflammation of the thyroid gland

Among the acute thyroiditis include the "acute suppurative thyroiditis" and the "subacute thyroiditis de Quervain". "Thyroiditis" is derived from the technical name of the thyroid gland (glandula thyroidea), the ending "-itis" stands for inflammation. These diseases manifest themselves as pain to the touch in the thyroid area and flu-like symptoms. In the acute stage, the thyroid gland can become overactive. They usually heal without any adverse consequences. Only in rare cases can this result in an underfunction.

The more common chronic thyroiditis(also called Hashimoto's thyroiditis) is an autoimmune disease in which antibodies in the blood attack the thyroid cells. In most cases it proceeds without symptoms, but can lead to hypofunction through the destruction of thyroid tissue.

Thyroid cancer

Malignant diseases of the thyroid gland (thyroid cancer) occur rarely and make up less than one percent of all cancer cases in Austria. They can be divided into the following two groups:

  • The differentiated thyroid carcinomas that arise directly from the thyroid cells and have a good prognosis.
  • The undifferentiated carcinomas that grow rapidly and have an unfavorable prognosis.

The medullary thyroid cancer is based on the so-called C cells in the thyroid. These produce the hormone calcitonin, which intervenes in calcium metabolism. This form of thyroid cancer can occur in families.

In the early stages of the disease, there is seldom any discomfort in the neck area. The following (late) symptoms can occur:

  • palpable or visible lump on the neck
  • enlarged cervical lymph nodes
  • Globe feeling (feeling like you have a lump in your throat)
  • hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing

For more information, see Thyroid Cancer.

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